BOSTON -- Boston's 37th come-from-behind win, a 5-3 triumph over American League East rival Toronto on Friday night at Fenway Park, allowed the Red Sox to envision a foe in the AL Division Series.The Red Sox will square off against the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday,
BOSTON -- Boston's 37th come-from-behind win, a 5-3 triumph over American League East rival Toronto on Friday night at Fenway Park, allowed the Red Sox to envision a foe in the AL Division Series.
The Red Sox will square off against the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday, though home-field advantage for that series is yet to be determined.
Cleveland beat Kansas City, 7-2, while Texas defeated Tampa Bay, 3-1, on Friday night. With the win, the Rangers earned home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They will play the winner of the AL Wild Card Game. After an 8-1 win over the Yankees, the Orioles lead the Blue Jays by one game for the top AL Wild Card spot, with Toronto a half-game ahead of Detroit and a game ahead of Seattle for the second AL Wild Card spot.
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The Red Sox lead the Indians by a half-game for home field in their ALDS matchup, and Boston owns the tiebreaker due to winning the season series, 4-2.
All of this amounts to a compelling ALDS between Boston and Cleveland, no matter the geographics. Indians manager Terry Francona guided the Red Sox to two World Series championships and is good friends with Boston manager John Farrell.
A number of Red Sox players look back at "Tito's" management fondly and are excited to face him in the postseason. This matchup features another familiar face in Mike Napoli. Now the Indians' clutch star, Napoli was a cult hero for the 2013 Red Sox during their wild run to the World Series title.
"That's going to be different," said Dustin Pedroia, who recorded his 200th hit on Friday night. "I love those guys. They're family to me, family to a lot of people. Obviously, when we get on the field, we play, we compete. But after the game, it'll still be different."
On the other side of the dugout, Farrell was drafted by the Indians in the second round of the 1984 Draft and pitched for the club for four seasons (1987-90). He went on to serve as their farm director.
"We kind of anticipated this might be the way it shakes out," Farrell said. "We'll have time to review more in depth as typically is the case when we get ready for the postseason, but still we're looking forward to these final two games here."
Though the Red Sox's postseason starting rotation is yet to be decided, 22-game winner Rick Porcello is expected to get the nod for Game 1 against Cleveland. The righty pitched his 13th consecutive quality start on Friday.
"It's really honestly a different style of baseball that's being played here in the AL East compared to anywhere else," Porcello said. "We've been able to hold up against a really tough division, and I think all of us feel really good about coming into the playoffs."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.